Liberty Filmmakers: What’s the Cost?

An inside look at the blood, sweat and tears an LU filmmaker put into his project.

From the moment Caleb Redecki showed his family his first film on VHS and saw their reactions, he was hooked.

“There’s nothing like that initial reveal,” Redecki said, “Just creating and having something to show and seeing people’s reaction—I think that is just the coolest thing.”

As a senior film student at Liberty University, Redecki is working in hopes of someday becoming a director which he believes will be the best way to create the reactions he loves to see from the audience.

But just how much does it cost to make it in this industry? And is it worth it?

Josiah Knuth, another film student at Liberty University, says the drive is mainly passion.

“That has to drive. It has to. Because there are times that you won’t be able to even find work,” Knuth said.

Even in a billion-dollar industry, there is no guarantee at even being offered a position let alone making a living wage.

Knuth experienced this firsthand when he left Liberty after two years of school to live in Atlanta and try to find film work. After 7 months of no success, he decided to come back to Liberty’s film program at the encouragement of his family.

However, Knuth maintains his belief that making it in the industry doesn’t require a degree. He says that it just takes time, which is something that he didn’t have in his particular situation.

“I still don’t think that film school is worth the amount of money it costs,” Knuth said, “You’re basically paying thousands of dollars for networking.”

But Redecki said that he believes coming to film school was the best option for him in spite of the common conception held by many of his peers that you don’t need film school to make it in the industry.

“This is the path for me, I am not saying it is for everyone, but I think that film school was best for me,” Redecki said.

The two reasons why Redecki said he chose to come to film school were because of the networking and the safe environment for failure.

Associate professor of cinematic arts at Liberty University Doug Miller said that was one of the greatest cost returns of coming to film school.

“You can fail, and it not be unto death,” Miller said, “If you jump out into the industry right away… and make a mistake and burn bridges, it could cost you more.”

But Miller admitted that even with a degree and experience, it still doesn’t guarantee a job. He said it helps to know what to do on set when a job does come along but it’s still a guessing game straight out of college. But that is one of the things Knuth says he loves about the industry.

“It’s risky, but that’s why I enjoy it,” Knuth said, “It’s different every day. It’s not one of those things where you sit down in an office and do the same thing for 20 years. I don’t know if I could do that. I need something with variation and that’s what this industry is.”

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